October 13, 2019

Letters to the Editor: Do Women Need Men?; Rabbi Hier; Divorce

Women and Marriage

Dennis Prager makes the case that women are diminishing their chances for happiness by education and professional aspirations (“Do Women Need Men?” Jan. 13). As the father of two successful and happily married daughters, I counseled them from an early age that they could pursue a career and marriage at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.

When one of my daughters decided to go to medical school, my mother counseled her, as Dennis would suggest, to seek a husband instead. My mother cited the case of her friend’s daughter who was a doctor but not married. Would she have been happier if she was not a doctor and still not married? Fortunately, today’s women can have it all.  

Michael Telerant, Los Angeles

Dennis Prager personifies the textbook definition of patronizing in his Jan. 13 column. He claims that the women who lead protests are angry about not having a husband, when actually they are pursuing justice, a core Jewish value. Prager loves to pick Torah portions that fit his narrow views, ignoring the Torah requirement to not judge unfairly. Fortunately for us, millions of women — be they unmarried or married to men or women — embody this Torah passage: “Justice, justice you shall pursue.”

Sharyn Obsatz, Encino

Divorce and the Orthodox

It’s time to drag this archaic diversion of the spirit of the law into the light and address the inequality of agunot (“Rabbi Krauss’ Crusade,” Dec. 23). Torah is explicit in that compassion is paramount. It is a presumption in the law that one must rule with leniency in saving the life of the agunah. As long as this issue of inequality remains without remedy, the very future of Judaism is in jeopardy. We cannot afford to punish our wives, mothers and children with this cruel form of isolation. The chronic patriarchal adherence to this abuse and misuse of the law does not serve to secure a future for the Jewish nation. It’s difficult enough to be a Jew in the 21st century as it is. Deal with it. End the abuse.

Kathlean Gahagan, Santa Monica

The Kapo Conundrum

The problem with the entire discussion about whether J Street is a kapo is that J Street members do not know what a kapo is — a prisoner foreman (“Chanukah, Trump and David Friedman,” Dec. 23). There were kapos who saved many lives, as well as kapos who had Stockholm syndrome and therefore mimicked the behavior of their oppressors. Some kapos were from the criminal class — deliberately chosen because they were criminals and given power — and chosen for that role; others used every conceivable opportunity, without endangering those whom they were in charge of, to make life as least difficult as possible under difficult if not impossible situations. 

As I read the entire discussion, including that of U.S. Ambassador Designate to Israel David Friedman, I am convinced “forgive them all for they know not of what they speak.” But this name calling is pure ignorance masquerading as wisdom and insight.

Michael Berenbaum via email

When I read the Letters to the Editor in the Jan. 6 issue, the first two caught my eye.

These letters criticized J Street supporters (they are not Zionists, they wrote). They also feel the possibility of a two-state solution is now history, and they are happy about this.

They like the politics of Donald Trump and U.S. Ambassador Designate to Israel David Friedman, and feel those who are on the other side are “self-hating apostate” Jews.

I don’t know the writers but I will bet they are older than 50. They had better start talking to younger Jews — millennials, college-age, etc. The future is not with their views, and if more mature voters do not see this, I worry about the future of Israel and Jews in the United States.

Younger Jews, for the most part, are not in favor of the settlements. They supported Bernie Sanders’ left-of-center views on Israel. This is the future. And organizations such as J Street and others are working hard to bridge the gap. We want to keep these young Jews engaged, not turn them off to the ideals of Zionism.

Judith Alban, Los Angeles

Rabbi Hier’s Bad Decision

May we include Rabbi Marvin Hier’s decision to deliver a benediction at Donald Trump’s inauguration as one of the top acts of anti-Semitism and intolerance of 2016? (“Local Rabbi to Deliver Prayer at Inauguration,” Jan. 6) After all, he’d be blessing a man who spoke of Jews as negotiators, retweeted from neo-Nazi websites, and helped to normalize the unleashing of some of the most anti-Semitic, disgusting, evil communications in recent history. And that’s beside all the horrendous stereotypes and awful insults Trump spewed about others. 

William Kaplan, Los Angeles